The Pearls in the Crown (1937)

Laughing Gravy
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
Laughing Gravy
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
Joined: 4:44 AM - Sep 01, 2005

3:27 AM - Sep 17, 2018 #1



The Pearls in the Crown (1937) Dir. Sacha Guitry
105 min. / B&W / 1.33:1
DVD: Criterion (Eclipse Series 22: Presenting Sacha Guitry)

The story of seven perfect pearls given to Caterina de Medici by Pope Clement VII in the early 16th century. Hop-skipping through history, we follow the wonderful pearls and the lives they touch (hint: mostly, necks that wear them end up beheaded) until four of them end up in the crown of England and in modern times, a French filmmaker, an Italian aide to the Pope, and a British historian team up to to search back through the centuries and discover the lost three pearls.

I'll just tell you up front: I loved this movie and can't recall another film quite like it just now. It's done tongue in cheek but only lightly, and it's so dizzy hopping through history that I had no idea where it was going to end up. Guitry (and several other cast members) assay several parts each, and it's a breezy stew of true facts, half facts, and balderdash. Mostly it concerns itself with European royalty, and with all that intermarriage going on, it's no wonder nobody could keep track of those damn pearls, particularly when the various Kings pay less interest to their Queens then to their handmaidens.

Million-dollar Dialog:
"It's an odd habit husbands have of presenting their wives with their mistresses-to-be for evaluation."

Part of the fun is that Guitry decided the film should be understandable in English, French and Italian without dubbing or subtitles. I'm not sure he succeeded (I left the subtitles on) but all three are spoken throughout the film, and quite well, too. The movie's listed in the books as a comedy, but I dunno... I think it's more of a light-hearted bit of historical whimsy, and as I said, I don't know any other films quite like it, except maybe Zelig with the Woody Allen part played by a pearl, or Forrest Gump without the melodrama.

As mentioned, I really, really enjoyed this movie.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
Quote
Like
Share

Frank Hale
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
Frank Hale
Balcony Gang, Foist Class
Joined: 2:02 AM - Oct 07, 2005

5:48 PM - Sep 17, 2018 #2

I enjoyed "The Story of a Cheat" in that set so much that I found the other films a bit disappointing. Which is not to say bad, just not up to its high standard.
 
I can't remember this one well enough to comment, but they were all pretty interesting.
 
Arrow Academy has another set of 4 different films by M. Guitry that's currently in my Amazon cart, so maybe I should pull the trigger. He was definitely an interesting guy.
Quote
Like
Share